Robin Williams has died from an apparent suicide. The early reports of his passing suggest the cause of death was asphyxiation. An autopsy was performed on August 12, with a press conference livestream airing shortly thereafter. You can watch that livestream right here, or read on to learn more about the autopsy.
1. The Robin Williams Autopsy Took Place on August 12
The LA Times reports that the autopsy of Robin Williams was scheduled for August 12. A tox screen will be performed following the autopsy.
Authorities were summoned to the Williams house in Tiburon, California around noon on Monday, August 11. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Rigor mortis had apparently already set in by the time his body was examined by the authorities.
2. The Cause of Death Was Asphyxiation
You can read the coroner’s statement issued prior to the autopsy above. Early reports indicate that Williams died from asphyxiation. The live stream of the autopsy press conference, as viewed on TMZ, confirmed that Williams hanged himself. Williams is believed to have used a belt and a closet door to end his own life. The coroner’s preliminary findings did not see any sign of a struggle that might have indicated foul play.
3. The Autopsy of Robin Williams Determined Cause of Death
Robin Williams died from asphyxiation by hanging, according to the autopsy’s preliminary findings. The point of any autopsy is for a medical professional to conclusively determine how someone died. This process can be time-consuming, and there are many steps to be followed in an average autopsy. LiveScience explains what generally happens during an autopsy:
“The autopsy begins with a careful inspection of the body. This can help establish identity, locate evidence or suggest a cause of death. The pathologists weigh and measure the body, noting the subject’s clothing, valuables and characteristics such as eye color, hair color and length, ethnicity, sex and age.
Removing the subject’s clothes, they then examine the body, searching for gunpowder residue, paint flakes or other deposits, identifying marks such as scars or tattoos, or injuries..Throughout the autopsy, the pathologist records everything on a body diagram and in recorded verbal notes…
If a complete internal examination is called for, the pathologist removes and dissects the chest, abdominal and pelvic organs, and (if necessary) the brain. It is unusual to examine the face, arms, hands or legs internally…
Following examination, the organs are either returned to the body (minus the pieces preserved for future work or evidence) or cremated, in accordance with the law and the family’s wishes.”
4. Robin Williams Had Recently Returned to Rehab
As we had previously reported, Robin Williams had recently returned to rehab. Williams had completed a string of back-to-back projects, and returned to rehab to “fine-tune” his sobriety.
The tox screen slated to be performed after the autopsy will reveal if Williams was using alcohol or any drugs immediately prior to his death. The toxicology results will not be available for between two and six weeks, according to the information presented at the autopsy press conference.
5. Past Celebrity Autopsies Have Caused Controversy
In the past, when other celebs have died and been autopsied, those autopsies have stirred up some controversy. For example, the Huffington Post notes that the toxicology report of actress Brittany Murphy stirred up a couple of conspiracy theories, as it conflicted with the original death report.
The same HuffPo article notes the controversy surrounding the death of Bruce Lee. The famed martial arts master died as the result of an allergic reaction to painkillers. According to the coroner’s report, Lee’s death was “by misadventure.” However, that hasn’t stopped some from speculating about more sinister causes of death.